£1.2 million grant boosts virtual dementia care

Practical digital resources and expert advice to support dementia care during COVID-19 will be available to 160 care homes within four weeks, researchers have said following a £1.2 million Government grant.

The award, from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will fund adaptations to the Improving Wellbeing and Health for People with Dementia (WHELD) staff training programme to support care during COVID-19. Improvements include enhanced opportunities for engagement and interaction for people living with dementia in care homes, peer to peer connection for care staff and access to WHELD coaches.

Among care home residents with dementia, COVID-19 has increased emotional stress including anxiety, depression and night-time problems, which lead to poorer physical health and wellbeing for care home residents.

The new resources will be trialled in almost 1,500 care homes nationwide before national roll-out. The initiative is being led by the University of Exeter and King’s College London and involving the universities of East Anglia and Hull, and the London School of Economics. Funding and support comes from Torbay Council, the Schroder Foundation and Alzheimer’s Society. 

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